04-The Adult’s Role in Outdoor Play and Learning

In this course, adults discover how their role during outdoor play experiences can support children’s learning and development. Participants will consider time, space and materials, and the roles early learning teachers exhibit to encourage children to experience outdoor play in a meaningful way. How can outdoor play be optimized? If children play day in and day out on the same play equipment in the same way, opportunities for higher-order thinking are diminished as is the child’s disposition to be enthusiastic about outdoor play. By understanding what to look for and how to support and build upon interests, early learning teachers can provide children with outdoor play experiences that influence how they engage in outdoor environments.  Understanding the difference between higher and lower-order thinking processes, the importance of repetition in children’s play (schemas) and the way adults can encourage children’s dispositions is essential for early learning teachers to support outdoor experiences and learning.

7 Lessons

Course Description
In this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Reflect upon the various roles adults can take to support or inhibit children’s outdoor play experiences.
  2. Examine the connections that can be made between outdoor play and learning, considering higher-order thinking process, creative and critical thinking, as well as skill development and dispositions to the outdoors.
  3. Examine the role of adults in sustaining and extending outdoor play experiences.
  4. Describe how the provision of time, space and materials can influence the quality of children’s outdoor play experiences.
  5. Analyze the cycle of action research and consider how the process can enhance children’s outdoor play experiences when changes are made to practice.

Examine a conceptualization of continuous professional learning and relate to the roles of mentors and critical friends.